I can’t believe how glorious the month of October has been this year. Other than the one day last week where I got soaked in a torrential downpour during my ill-timed cycle to work, the last few weeks have been brilliant autumnal weather.

With temperatures due to drop (and a LOT of rain on the way) as we head into November, I thought I’d pause and be glad of a few things that I really shouldn’t have been able to do at this time of year.

I’ve spent a lot of time eating outside recently. Myself and a couple of work colleagues have got into the habit of going for breakfast every Friday morning and last week we ventured to the café opposite our office and ate outside! It was warm enough at 9am to be outside and eating my full English. Wonderful. And at £3.95 – including a cuppa! – I was happy as larry.

I’ve also had breakfast in Hyde Park, at White Mulberries in St Katherine Docks and picnicked around and about near my office.

Clockwise from top right: banana bread & a piccolo at White Mulberries, me and my gorge borrowed Tokyobike in Hyde Park, enjoying the splendour of the Prudential building on Holborn, Friday morning full English

Last Friday, as well as an outdoor brekkie, I also managed another first – my first ever RUNch! It was such a nice day, I had some spare kit under my desk, so I decided to head out for a quick loop along the river, taking in Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.

This photo does no justice to how warm it felt – I was in a vest and shorts on the run, and then at my desk with a very red face for most of the afternoon. Most impressive though was that I managed to change, run, shower, change again and be back at my desk in under 50 minutes.

Last weekend I got red faced again as I stood for 90 minutes at my first Norwich match of the season at Craven Cottage (home of Fulham). I am so used to going to football in the depths of winter, that I was so overdressed in my four layers and overheated throughout. I’ll miss that feeling when I’m shivering on a Tuesday night in February though.

And this week my Monday morning was made instantly better by the beautiful blue sky that greeted me as I stepped out of my front door. The clocks going back mean some lighter mornings, if only for a short while, and I really appreciated this one.

I wish autumn could go on forever!

 

Throughout my school and work life, I have received a lot of feedback on my personality, ranging from ‘too shy‘, ‘too aloof‘, through to ‘not passionate enough‘ and ‘needs to network better‘. It was a relief to find out (although I accept these need to be worked on) that I wasn’t a weirdo, but just an introvert. Since then, I’ve found a lot of interest in reading on the topic (am currently part way through Susan Cain’s book Quiet), but one of the articles that I frequently direct people to as describing an introvert near-on perfectly is 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.

A couple of the points refer to the need for downtime or the requirement to ‘recharge your batteries’. Often my Sundays are spent like this, and today is another one of them.

At the moment, I constantly feel busy. Work is busy, and although I don’t work the craziest hours, I rarely have time to take a lunch break. By the time I leave work my mind is spreadsheet fatigued. I also run, see my friends a lot, like to try and feed myself relatively healthily and *whispers* am dipping my toes into the world of online dating. All of this sometimes makes me feel overwhelmed.

I get to the point – usually every two to three weeks – where I just need to sleep and chill the heck out. I need to lay in bed, then on the sofa, to catch up on TV I’ve missed and want to see, to do some washing and to do some life admin. I just need to be at home, in my cosy little bubble.

I don’t see downtime as a waste of time. I like it and when it’s needed, it is a necessity.

Today I woke up mid-morning after thirteen (!) hours sleep. I missed my Sunday group run and I was still in my PJs at 3pm. And all of it was glorious. Because it will mean that I tackle Monday and the rest of my week feeling recharged and in control again. Blissful.

As an aside, in looking up the article link above, I also found this infographic on the Huff Post website. Very good info for all you non-introverts 😉 …

Like (I assume) most people, I don’t really like doing things I’m not good at. Which is why, generally, I quite like maths but mostly avoid doing pull ups – which, as an aside, is also the reason I often get stuck in the revolving doors at work (so embarrassing).

And then there are things I have a love-hate relationship with, like swimming. I really quite like swimming, but I am also really quite bad at it. I don’t like the faff, but I adore being in or near water. I can only really do Granny-style breaststroke, but I’d love to be better.

Recently on holiday in Pefkos, on Rhodes, I had the perfect swimming experience. The temperature was near 40 degrees celsius, the beach was beautiful and the sea was perfectly cooling. After a few stints of just dipping in and out, I decided to go for a ‘proper’ swim. I swam out and out, through choppy waves and then out some more until I definitely couldn’t stand up. Usually not being able to feel the floor or cling onto the sides would fill me with panic, but this time I felt a bizarre sense of calm. I swam up and down sideways along the beach, then floated and stared up at the clear blue sky. It was glorious.

Now I’m back in autumnal London, I’m upset that swimming can’t always be like that. I want sea, sand and standing in the sun to dry off *sad face*

This weekend, me and twelve other lovely ladies flew to Sitges, just south of Barcelona, for the first of (I suspect, many) Leah‘s hen celebrations… aka #ToppHens (a celebration of Leah’s soon-to-be new surname).

There were crazy marathon training distances ran by Charlie and Laura on the Friday before I arrived and another shorter but still crazy early run on the Saturday morning too. I decided that although my half marathon training plan stated ‘9-10 miles’, that floating up and down the pool on a lilo/inflatable tyre/blow up giraffe was just as sufficient and it was BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

IMG_1058.JPGRecently I started reading The Minimalists blog, and quickly their ideas and values really interested me. At the heart of their principles for life, is that everything you own should either serve a purpose or bring you joy. I think these two simple rules are exactly what you should apply to your possessions – it’s such an easy way to ensure you aren’t surrounded by unnecessary clutter.

I’ve never been a hoarder and enjoy a cathartic clear out fairly often, but almost eight months after moving into my current home, I feel it is time for another. So, from today, myself and a few other of my social media-y friends (Laura, Charlie, Charlie & Harry) are taking part in The Minimalists’ Game, a month long challenge in which you remove unnecessary items from your home – one on the first day, two on the second, three on the third etc… for thirty days. The person who can keep it up the longest wins.

This all sounded fantastic until I realised this means removing 465 items from your home over the month. I had a VERY large clear out of my possessions at the beginning of this year, but I’m sure applying the purpose/joy principles will enable me to discover some more things I just don’t need.

So, if you need a clear out, join us! We’ll be using #ChuckIt (along with the official #MinsGame) – and let me know how you get on.

(Although we will be using the #ChuckIt hashtag, please remove your possessions responsibly – recycle where possible, follow guidance for electrical disposal, give to charity etc…)